The problem with Xbox is that you don’t need an Xbox, and that’s a hard circle to square

This week The Shiitake Show asks: what’s the point of Xbox? That’s not us being sarcastic or snide. It’s a question that everyone in the industry, not least Microsoft themselves, needs to find an answer to. A conflicted, convoluted vision for the platform has left it struggling for an identity at the dawn of a future it is trying to forge for us all, one where the console itself no longer matters. And yet, Xbox still needs us to buy Xboxes. It’s a tricky position to be in, compounded by the perception that Xbox doesn’t have any compelling exclusives. Watch below.

That’s not to say the Series X and S aren’t fine machines. They absolutely are – yes, even the “underpowered” and much maligned Series S, which I’ve been a big advocate for in the past and will continue to be because, in a nutshell, it’s the most bang-per-buck deal in gaming. A lot of people pointed to the Baldur’s Gate 3 fiasco as a big indicator that the Series S was Bad Actually. As things stand right now, the plucky machine is by a considerable margin the cheapest place to play Baldur’s Gate 3. And Cyberpunk 2077. And Starfield. And every existing or future current-gen only game, excluding PS5 exclusives and the odd rarity that never makes it off PC. For a box that costs half as much as a decent low-mid range GPU, that’s incredible.

But if you already have a halfway decent GPU sitting inside a halfway decent PC, you simply don’t need an Xbox. Not even the cheap one, such is the business model of Xbox Everywhere. PC Game Pass essentially delivers the entire Xbox experience as a handy little Windows app. Hell, you don’t even need a proper PC: if you own a Steam Deck and have ten minutes of free time, you can get Game Pass running via Xcloud, and very nicely too. Microsoft provides an official guide for the procedure. It even includes bespoke artwork.

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